The Biden administration is set to allocate $ 1.2 billion to programs that encourage communities to build resilient infrastructure, and an additional $ 160 million to flood mitigation grant programs.
Why is this important: Making grant money more widely available, especially for disadvantaged communities, could help reduce damage from increasingly severe storms in the future. A UN climate report released on Monday reveals that extreme weather events are rapidly becoming more frequent and severe due to man-made global warming.
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Details: The $ 1.2 billion for the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program in particular provides money for states, communities, tribes and territories to take actions that would make them better able to withstand harsh conditions. future extreme weather events.
“It is essential that, as we work to address climate change, we do so in a way that ensures equity in the delivery of our programs,” FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said in a statement.
“By changing the criteria for the FMA and BRIC programs, we aim to reach more underserved and at-risk communities, which are often disproportionately affected by climate change, and provide them with the necessary means to make them more resilient to climate change. next disaster, “she said.
The context: Announcement of application periods for both programs follows last week’s announcement of $ 3.5 billion, the largest annual contribution, to the post-disaster risk mitigation grant program .
Details: FEMA is touting the steps it is taking to improve the equitable distribution of funds, in line with the administration’s focus on environmental justice.
According to an agency fact sheet, FEMA changed the selection criteria for BRIC projects to “allow a significantly higher proportion of benefits for those most in need of investing in climate resilience.”
The administration adjusts the scoring criteria used to determine who gets funding so that it takes into account projections of climate change and rural and economically disadvantaged communities.
The fact sheet says FEMA has doubled the number of counties eligible for project development assistance to 20.
The flood mitigation program will also incorporate an environmental justice component, specifically the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Social Vulnerability Index as a selection factor in its competitive scoring process. “This means underserved populations will receive more points for projects that benefit their communities,” the agency’s fact sheet says.
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